anna brones

writer + artist

Posts Tagged ‘adventure

Coffee Outside

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Alastair Humphreys—king of the microadventure, author of many books, and lover of all kinds of curiosities big and small—and I wanted to collaborate on something. Art? Words? Where would we start? We went back and forth for a long time, thinking of what might be the right thing to take on together. And then we thought, why not just go back to the thing that’s at the root of it all, the thing that always helps us to begin: coffee. We are both avid coffee drinkers, coffee weaves its ways into our adventures and our creativity. It made sense to do a collaboration focused just on that. In the spirit of percolating new ideas and projects, we’re releasing this on the day of the new moon. In this one, Alastair took a stab at the words and I took a stab at the art. We’ll both be drinking some coffee outside today (probably tomorrow as well) and we hope you’ll join us in some coffee outside adventures, wherever you are. 

Momentous and wondrous things — adventure, a piece of art, a new project — begin with a seed of an idea, a cup of coffee, and then the decision to begin.

Whether it is ‘putting the kettle on’ in Britain when hatching plans, Sweden’s daily fika to savour life’s small joys, or ‘grabbing a coffee’ in North America to toss around exciting ideas, we believe that good stuff comes from coffee. 

We appreciate the familiarity of a favourite mug, the performance of the preparation or the ritual of going to a favourite cafe. We take pleasure in the caesura, the space created by pausing for coffee, and perhaps a faint glimpse of the Buddhist notion that you can experience the universe by drinking a bowl of tea. 

So coffee is where we are going to begin this new journey towards exploring the link between adventure, creativity, curiosity, and wellbeing. [By the way ‘tea’ can be used interchangeably with ‘coffee’ throughout. Perhaps not ‘Beer’ though, if you’re reading this early in the day!]

What if we try something different with our daily ritual? Nothing dramatic, nothing to worry about or procrastinate. Just a tiny step towards something different. Sometimes that can be all you need to leave your rut. Nudge the helm, trim the sail of a small boat leaving Java and you’ll shift your landfall from Kenya to Yemen. 

Today we nudge you to take your coffee outside and experience an extra sliver of the universe. A cup of coffee in the fresh air cracks open the space to allow ideas to percolate and brew. For adventure ideas. For a blackbird waiting for this moment to arise. For creative impulses and a breath of breeze. The time to observe, notice and appreciate the world outside your front door. 

The hardest part of any adventure is what Norwegians call the ‘dørstokkmila‘, the doorstep mile, cajoling yourself to leave the comfortable, familiar house, step out of a rut and into the world. The doorstep mile is the longest mile of any journey.

Before Russians begin a journey they sit down together and pause in silence to clear their heads and bring good fortune. The tradition is called ‘sidet na chemodanakh or ‘sitting on your suitcases’. Our bags are not yet packed, but we have now begun to dream.

Abraham Lincoln supposedly said that if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. Similarly, when we plan an adventure, a book, or a new work of art, we first of all pause for coffee. 

Who are you? Where are you? How will you take your coffee today? We want to hear from you, and where these outdoor moments take place. Perhaps you’ll sit amongst the pigeons on a park bench with your latte. Or with an espresso and a croissant at a terracotta-tiled cafe beside the emerald waters of the Adriatic. You may walk outside in the middle of winter barefoot, standing on your porch in bare feet, feeling the cold of the season, the hot mug in your hands. You could fill a thermos and set out on foot for the woods. Or you might prefer to brew your coffee outside. A gas stove and a sprinkle of instant. A jetboil and French press. Aeropress. Bialetti. Briki. A kelly kettle or a coffee bag. Java drip, filter, press pot or percolator. A Moka pot and wanderlust for al-Makha. Perhaps you’ll gather twigs and light a fire for cowboy coffee or forage, roast and grind a beech nut substitute coffee. Or maybe you’ll simply carry your cup from kitchen to sunlit garden and sit for a while, caging the minute within its nets of gold.

We are fascinated by the concept of adventure, something that often comes with a sense of uncertainty and unknown. This past year has presented us with ample amounts of uncertainty in our everyday, and our thoughts about –and approach to– ‘adventure’ has most certainly shifted. Our journeys now are closer to home. We are challenged to stay curious and find joy in our most trivial moments. It’s easy for things to become routine and mundane. This is why we should use something as small as a change in daily ritual to bring us a hint of what we have missed. It holds the possibility of surprise and serendipity, and offers an invitation to exploration and the simple activities that fill life with joy and inspiration.

Whilst we doubtlessly want adventure, we also crave ways to slow down and be present, to connect with the world around us, and generate the opportunity to pursue our creativity. Mark this cup of coffee as the beginning of that quest. To consciously look askew at the way we do things. An interlude to pay attention and be grateful. And a chance, with the final sip, to acknowledge how easy that was and to commit to try something similar again. 

This might merely be drinking a cup of coffee outside. But it may also be the birth of a new adventure. We do not yet know. But we have begun to find out.

Written by Anna Brones

February 11, 2021 at 09:00

Isabella L. Bird

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“Everything suggests a beyond.”

– Isabella L. Bird

Born in England in 1831, Isabella L. Bird was outspoken from a young age. For health reasons, in 1854 a doctor suggested a sea voyage. This would lead to a life of travel, her adventures taking her to the U.S. (where she spent time in Colorado, riding horseback across the Rockies), Australia, India, Kurdistan, Turkey, Morocco and many more.

Bird wrote about her adventures in several books, likeA Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, and was a respected photographer and naturalist, exploring and documenting the world around her. In 1892, she became the first woman fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Imagine being a female adventurer in her day – a time when women were expected to stay home, to stick to their routines. She upended all of those expectations, fueled by an interest in adventure and a desire to tackle new challenges. In Colorado, she became the first woman to climb Long’s Peak, nowadays one of the state’s most popular “fourteeners.”

It’s so easy to only focus on the minutiae of the world around us; our to do lists, our daily lives, our routines. But Isabella’s quote is a reminder that there is always more; a challenge to open our eyes, to look beyond, to think differently. The world is full of potential for discovery, whether it’s far away or in our own backyard. We simply have to open ourselves to it.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

April 18, 2018 at 10:45

Adventure Journals

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What inspires you to get out and adventure?

That was the driving question behind this collection of three Adventure Journals, a special, limited edition collaboration with my friends over at Wylder Goods. Inspired by the pursuit of adventure – whether it’s a bike ride, a cup of coffee brewed outside, or a night under the stars – these journals are there to accompany you and provide a home for your thoughts, musings and ponderings.

They each feature one of my papercuts, and are printed by Scout Books in Portland, Oregon.

What makes these special:

  • 100% recycled Kraft cover!
  • 100% recycle white interior paper!
  • 100% awesome!

You can snag them in my shop or over on Wylder Goods.

Written by Anna Brones

June 30, 2017 at 14:31

How to Be an Explorer

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full_1371749703How-to-be-an-explorer

Loved writing this piece for GOOD: Make Room for Discovery: Five Simple Steps For Explorers

Magellan, Columbus, Da Gama, Amundsen, Cook, Eriksson, Lewis & Clark, Shackleton—all names synonymous with adventure and exploration. They circumnavigated the world, discovered continents and became the subjects of history books. There was an unknown, and it was meant to be explored.

In the modern age of the Internet, cell phones, and around-the-world air travel, that sense of the unknown has changed, but it certainly hasn’t disappeared. While there may not be entire continents up for grabs, modern day exploring is just as important as it was during the Age of Exploration, if not more so.
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Written by Anna Brones

June 25, 2013 at 00:28

Dirtbag Gourmet: Cooking for Your Date in the Great Outdoors

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It’s good when editors let you pitch the kind of articles that make you laugh. Which is why I am excited about my most recent post on the very respectable outdoor online magazine Adventure Journal, where I took a stab at the topic of food and love in the backcountry. It started as a conversation between friends on how to impress a date on a hike (“make your own trail mix!”) and resulted in this article:

If you can’t cook a decent meal in the backcountry, you’re destined for romantic failure. A way to anyone’s heart is often through his or her stomach, especially if you’re on the tail end of a grueling day outside. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Yeah, that will refuel the person you’re crushing on, but a homemade olive hummus wrap with sea salt? That might be the extra touch you need to turn adventure partner into your partner.

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Do What You Love and the Rest Comes

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“That cheesy expression that you hear… Do what you love and the rest comes. It’s true. It really works like that.”

Big ups to my good friend Allie for making this film and reminding me on a daily basis that doing what you love really is the way to go in life.

Written by Anna Brones

November 12, 2010 at 11:06

Adventure Planning

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This is what I’ll be doing next week… and I can’t wait.

Written by Anna Brones

December 17, 2009 at 16:55

A Weekend of Iceshoeing… Oh Wait, Snowshoeing

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snowshoe1

Went snowshoeing a couple of weekends ago, and although it hadn’t snowed in ages and the physical activity probably should have been deemed “iceshoeing,” it was a great adventure all the same.

An excerpt from my trip dispatch over at Wend:

snowshoe21Packs filled with apples and granola bars (because we left in too much of a hurry to actually plan a real lunch), we set out on a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, headed for Trillium Lake. To say the snow was well packed would be an understatement. “Having fun on the ice today?” I remarked when we passed a group of cross country skiiers.

“Yeah, you’re probably having a much easier time,” replied one of them, pointing to my snowshoes.

“True, although I think it would be easier just to walk.”

But if you’ve come to snowshoe, you’re going to snowshoe dammit! No matter how much easier taking them off might be…

Read the whole thing here along with a great slideshow of pics.

Written by Anna Brones

March 4, 2009 at 09:56